(TOLLAND, CONN., MARCH 28, 2011) Gerber Technology, a business unit of Gerber Scientific, Inc., announces the planned retirement of James Arthurs, a 31-year veteran of the company best known for leading the company’s foray into international apparel and industrial markets and solidifying Gerber’s leadership position in the Asia-Pacific region. Arthurs, who is senior vice president of Gerber Scientific and chairman of Gerber Technology, will retire at the close of 2011.
“When I joined Gerber, we were the only provider of automated cutting solutions,” noted Arthurs. “We had a total of 200 cutting systems throughout the world and only 10 in Asia-Pacific. Today, we provide CAD systems, automated spreaders and PLM systems to more than 6,000 customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, more than one-half of the top 100 companies in China rely on our solutions to help them be more productive with everything from pattern design to spreading and cutting parts with precision.”
In 1980, Arthurs, relying on statistical data and market research, anticipated the expansion of market opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. He planned and orchestrated Gerber Technology’s entrance into this market with the formation of a distributorship in Japan and the opening of an office in Hong Kong that served agents in other countries in the region. He also established the company’s operations in Latin America, Africa and countries of the former Soviet Union.
Gerber supported many businesses as they began using automation solutions to increase their productivity and profitability. “We grew together with tens of smaller apparel manufacturers and helped them blossom into multi-million dollar organizations,” said Arthurs. “In contrast to many other CAD/CAM suppliers who are active in the Asia-Pacific region, Gerber has always been known not only for its innovative products but also for the consistency and continuity of its management team, with several individuals boasting a two-decade-plus continuum of service to the company and to customers.”
Gerber and its agent/distributor network staff 145 offices throughout the world and operate in 129 countries. “Gerber has always acted nimbly, foreseen trends and understood the importance of being where our customers need us,” added Arthurs. “The apparel industry has migrated into and out of many regions and as our customers embraced automation, we partnered with them to understand their challenges and provided solutions to help them become and remain profitable. As they grew, our product solutions, operations and support of them also grew.”
Arthurs predicts the market in China will continue to expand. “Currently, China produces some $300 billion worth of garments – a full 40 percent of the world’s apparel production. But, with a population of 1.3 billion, the country’s domestic consumption is and will continue to be a major driver of production for domestic use.”
To help fulfil this demand, Gerber is expanding its manufacturing and engineering operations in China and re-cited its commitment to the region with the appointment of Tom Finn to president of Asia-Pacific. “Tom and I will be working closely in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition,” assured Arthurs. “The baton is being passed and I have every confidence that his experience and commitment to customer satisfaction will be the building blocks for the next generation of Gerber automation solutions in the region. Tom will also rely on the support of individuals who have been leading the charge in China for decades.”
“Gerber strongly believes that companies of any size can benefit from automation as they strive to grow their business,” said Finn. “We don’t want to simply provide products. We want to partner with our customers for the long term, offering our business and industry expertise to help them improve their profitability.”
Arthurs concluded, “Garment manufacturers in Asia-Pacific are facing many of the challenges manufacturers in other regions of the world have overcome in years past. Labor and material costs are increasing and the big brands are placing more demands on their suppliers than ever before. The challenge is to produce more for less while improving quality and that can only be achieved through the use of automation. Of course, at the foundation of it all are personal relationships built on decades of trust. We have worked hard to nurture our relationships with customers. They rely on our solutions to help grow their companies, feed their families and the families of their employees and that is not a responsibility we have ever taken lightly.”